Haim Watz­man is a Jerusalem-based writer, jour­nal­ist, and trans­la­tor. He is the author of Com­pa­ny C: An American’s Life as a Cit­i­zen-Sol­dier in Israel and A Crack in the Earth: A Jour­ney Up Israel’s Rift Val­ley, which will be avail­able as ebooks this week. Haim was a 2008 final­ist for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jew­ish Lit­er­a­ture. He will blog­ging here all week for the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and MyJew­ish­Learn­ing.

My Dad and I nev­er watched the Super­bowl togeth­er. Nor the NBA cham­pi­onships, the World Cup, or the World Series. In my fam­i­ly, the only per­son who watched sports on tele­vi­sion was my grand­moth­er, who nev­er missed an Indi­ans or Browns game. So I grew up with a warped sense of man­hood. Watch­ing guys throw balls around was for old ladies. My Dad and I did our small-screen-medi­at­ed male bond­ing on elec­tion night.

So I’m hap­py to report that when this post appears I’ll be on my way from Jerusalem to Den­ver to spend my first elec­tion night with Dad in more than three decades. Tues­day night he and I will be munch­ing piz­za and pop­corn as we watch the returns come in and tal­ly elec­toral votes and Sen­ate seats.

Dad, a long­time news­pa­per reporter, was my first coach in polit­i­cal analy­sis, as well as in writ­ing. His pol­i­tics are lib­er­al Demo­c­rat; his style is terse, sim­ple, and to the point (he would dis­ap­prove of the pre­vi­ous semi­colon and these paren­the­ses). So it’s not sur­pris­ing that I occa­sion­al­ly try my hand at polit­i­cal satire. At its best, it’s a genre that forces read­ers think about their beliefs in a new way. Fur­ther­more, it can help those of us jad­ed by the horser­ace cov­er­age that all too often pass­es for polit­i­cal jour­nal­ism to remem­ber that pol­i­tics is as much a nec­es­sary part of our lives as love is, and that it’s impor­tant that we get both right.

That’s what I tried to do in my lat­est Nec­es­sary Sto­ries” piece, pub­lished in the cur­rent issue of the Jerusalem Report. Called Per­sua­sion,” it’s a love sto­ry in the style of Jane Austen, set in the run-up to the cur­rent elec­tion.

The Jerusalem Report has giv­en me a plat­form that few writ­ers enjoy and for which I’m extreme­ly grate­ful (espe­cial­ly to Eet­ta Price-Gib­son, who offered me the perch dur­ing her tenure as edi­tor of the mag­a­zine). Once each month I get three pages where I can write what­ev­er I want — mem­oir, satire, or short sto­ry. As I’ve tran­si­tioned in recent years from writ­ing jour­nal­ism and non-fic­tion into writ­ing fic­tion, it’s giv­en me a place to exper­i­ment with sub­jects and tech­niques. Some of my Nec­es­sary Sto­ries are fun­ny, some sad, some wist­ful. By arrange­ment with the mag­a­zine, they are also avail­able in full on my blog, South Jerusalem.

If you like the lat­est one, you might also sam­ple Plane Sto­ry,” about an encounter with strangers and sto­ry­telling on a Delta flight, and Bananas,” a tale from the immi­grant camp that used to occu­py the part of Holon where some of my in-laws live. I also rec­om­mend Win­ter” and Spring,” the first two install­ments in a quar­tet of army sto­ries col­lec­tive­ly called Duties of the Heart. Sum­mer” and Autumn” are too long for my three pages in the Report and are cur­rent­ly seek­ing homes else­where.

Don’t tell Dad about all those ridicu­lous­ly long sen­tences in Per­sua­sion.” He’d give me a stern lec­ture on style and we might miss some key returns and projections.

Vis­it Haim Watz­man’s offi­cial web­site here.

Haim Watz­man lives in Jerusalem and is the author of three books: Com­pa­ny C: An American’s Life as a Cit­i­zen-Sol­dier in Israel; A Crack in the Earth: A Jour­ney Up Israel’s Rift Val­ley; and a sto­ry col­lec­tion, Nec­es­sary Sto­ries, a selec­tion of the more than 150 he has writ­ten. His play The Chair won the 2021 The­ater Insti­tute Award of the Con­tem­po­rary Jew­ish Dra­ma Inter­na­tion­al Com­pe­ti­tion spon­sored by the Estera Rachel and Ida Makin­skie Jew­ish The­ater in War­saw. He has trans­lat­ed more than 50 books from Hebrew into Eng­lish, among them works by Shlo­mo Avineri, David Gross­man, Hil­lel Cohen, Amos Oz, and Tom Segev. He edit­ed the Eng­lish-lan­guage ver­sion of Yuval Noah Harari’s world­wide best­seller, Sapi­ens. Sub­scribe to his Sub­stack newslet­ter here.